Guest Post: Wrapping Up the Brainstorm

About the Author: Antonio, aged 19, currently works at Hubbubbaloo Creative, as well as is a college student.  After writing his own college essays, he has the following advice to share: 


The brainstorm is meant to warm you up for taking on the college essay so don’t fret discrepancies.

“Don’t tear up the page and start over when you write a bad line– try to write your way out of it. Make mistakes and plunge on.” This technique is helpful in producing ideas you otherwise would have never thought of in the first place. You may find your description of camping over the summer was not as descriptive as you wanted it to be so you try to fix your bad line by going into detail finding this may be the beginning of a potential college essay. Trying to start over in a brainstorm is like trying to erase a bad line in drawing a picture with a permanent marker, you must embrace your bad lines and correct them by continuing your work.

Consider keeping  “your writing stuff in one place where you can sit down for a few minutes” because “some of the best letters are tossed off in a burst of inspiration. This means keeping paper, computer, writing utensils, and anything to help “write fast when the pen is hot” (or type when the ideas hot in mind). This could also mean keeping your brainstorm document docked on your desktop for quick access when you have an urgent idea that needs attendance before it fades. If you own a phone, it may also help to keep a digital notepad or application available for brainstorming purposes when you are away from home.

Remember that “writing is a means of discovery” so before throwing off the idea of a brainstorm for your college essay, give it a try, because you could miss the opportunity in realizing who you really are and potentially creating a launching pad for each essay prompt that needs lift off.

Inspired by Garrison Keillor’s How to Write a Letter

See previous posts for the parts one and two of Antonio’s brainstorming advice

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About Jill Yoshikawa, Ed M, Partner of Creative Marbles Consultancy

Jill Yoshikawa, EdM, Harvard ’99, a seasoned, 25 year educator and consultant, is meticulous in helping clients navigate all aspects of the educational experience, no matter the level of complexity. She combines educational theory with experience to advise families, schools and educators. A UCSD and Harvard graduate, as well as a former high school teacher, Jill works tirelessly to help her clients succeed.
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